Echoes of Durood in the British Countryside
By the grace of Allah, on the idyllic Hampshire countryside are marquees, filled with passionate young Ahmadis sharing their zeal in this year’s National Ijtema, with the theme this year placing particular emphasis on “The Power of Durood Shareef”. For the first time since 2019, the Ijtema is physically taking place. Once again Atfal and Khuddam brothers from across the UK are united, evoking feelings of enthusiasm and eagerness as individual and team competitions take place. With careful social distancing measures and masks covering each face, this Ijtema is a unique one, but the sheer gratefulness each attendee feels to be here is what makes this event so incredibly special and blessed.
One Khadim, Ismail Ahmad from London, described how special it felt to him to be here:
“If you think about it, how many events are happening due to COVID? Very, very few. For an Ijtema to be happening currently during COVID, and for Khuddam to get together… it’s just a remarkable thing.”
Certainly, the sole existence of the Ijtema is astonishing. Re-establishing the feeling of unbreakable brotherhood and enhancing the unity of each member creates a sense of enormous fulfilment for all. Not to mention the theme of the Ijtema this year is most definitely a spiritually motivating one for it educates others on the importance of Allah’s divinely appointed Messenger (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him).
The facilities in this year’s Ijtema are greatly organised, with humble volunteers helping set up the exhibitions. Another Khadim, Akram Ghauri from Southwest England told us:
“The exhibitions are a great part of this Ijtema. The exhibitions of the different magazines and the one on Syed Taalay Ahmad Shaheed are really relevant for younger people. Not to mention that the volunteering work, the people that set this all up, all the work that they do is inspiring; it shows selflessness.”
Furthermore, the number of attendees this year is what makes the Ijtema so special. The indescribable sense of cheerfulness that is etched on each attendee’s smile is what lifts the atmosphere to such a level that only members of the Ahmadiyya Community are perhaps familiar with here today, an exemplary display of diversity and companionship. The familiar sense of fraternity and belonging is what binds each Ahmadi here today into one integration. This was further reflected on by a Khadim working behind the scenes, Shehryar Sheikh:
“The Ijtema this year has so far been really successful, Alhamdulilah. One of our roles in the Atfal team is to try and maximise attendance. So, in my eyes, one of the inspiring things is the number of people that came to the Ijtema. Just seeing the fruits of all the work that has been going on behind the scenes, is quite incredible.”
Overall, the essence of this year’s Ijtema is outstanding. It is a quintessential example of unity, spirituality, and devotedness. This event has moved Ahmadis across the UK and encourages them to join in and relate their incidences of religious inspiration. The theme echoes across the hearts of Ahmadis not only in the UK, but across the world as people have been watching the events online. This ijtema has touched the souls of the deep lovers of the Holy Prophet (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). This ijtema will indeed be a memorable one—of course, the greatest rewards for attendance, other than the blessings of God Almighty, is seeing the Khalifah of the time: Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul-Masih Vaba.
MKA National Ijtema 2022
At a time when everyone is feeling the blues after the success of Jalsa Salana UK 2022, the perfect antidote is just around the corner. The National Khuddam and Atfal Ijtema 2022 will be taking place on the 9th, 10th and 11th of September 2022 at Old Park Farm in Kingsley.
This is a perfect opportunity for all Khuddam and Atfal across the country to come together and enjoy the extensive array of academics, activities, discussion and food planned for the entire weekend. Additionally, it’s a great way for Khuddam to rekindle lost friendships after the pandemic.
Our world has taken a turn towards mischief and society is increasingly moving further away from their Lord. The responsibility of bringing the world back to God rests on the shoulders of the youth of today. This duty is arduous and cannot be undertaken unless self-reformation is brought on first. The National Ijtema is a means of directing the Ahmadi Youth of today towards their duties and responsibilities as Ahmadi Muslims.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V (aba) said on the occasion of the National Ijtema in 2013,
“It is the Ahmadi Muslim youths who will be the means of leading others towards success and true freedom. To do this, you must learn about your faith so that you can display the highest moral standards in all aspects of your lives. Only when you strive for such high standards will you be able to paint the true picture of peaceful Islam for the people of the world.”
And the statement of Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad (ra) – who founded Majlis Khuddamul Ahmadiyya – that “Nations cannot be reformed without the reformation of their youth” sets forth such a profound philosophy for all Nations to come. And it is at Ijtema that the youth of Ahmadiyyat can foster these qualities within themselves to become the guiding forces for the future generations.
This year we have a lot to offer all attendees including the academic competitions, exhibitions, indoor and outdoor competitive and non-competitive sports, interactive discussions on hot topics and inspiring talks on the issues that are affecting our young people across the whole country. And of course, National Ijtema would not be complete without The Hub. This year, we have lots of fun and engaging activities taking place in The Hub, and we’re not just talking about the café with Waffles, Ice Cream and Milk Shakes… come and test your mettle with the Scalextric F1 racing challenge and the PlayStation racing experience. Ask a Murabbi your burning questions or take a seat and Chit Chat Chai about Islam, metaphysics and other contemporary issues.
We have all of the usual outdoor team sports taking place such as Football, Volleyball, Cricket, and Tug of war, as well as individual sports competitions such as 100m race and Strong man competition. For indoor sports competitions, we have Weight Lifting, Basketball, Table Tennis and Armed Forces Activities just to name a few.
Unlike last year when we couldn’t offer accommodation to all Khuddam and Atfal due to Covid restrictions, this year we are making necessary arrangements with necessary amenities for our Khuddam and Atfal brothers to stay on-site if they wish to do so. Sanitised mattresses will be provided and those wishing to stay overnight must bring their own bedding.
Due to the still prevalent Covid pandemic, we are still keeping in place some measures to keep all of the attendees safe during the weekend. Wear a mask, keep a safe distance and try to refrain from handshaking and hugging. On arrival, you need to provide proof of a negative LFT no less than 24 hours old so please register your negative LFT on NHS Website before you leave for the Ijtema. We will put a sticker on your AIMS card, and this will give you access to the Ijtema site for the next 3 days.
One of the highlights of the National Ijtema is to spend time in the company of our Beloved Imam, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba) so we can elevate our spirituality and increase our love for Khilafat. We were blessed to have the blessed company of Huzoor (aba) in last year’s Ijtema. This year again we are fortunate that InshaAllah Huzoor (aba) will be gracing us with his presence and we can once again benefit from the blessed company and guidance of Beloved Huzoor (aba).
We look forward to welcoming you to the National Ijtema in less than 24 hours! Please visit mka.uk/ijtema-reg to register today and visit ijtema.org.uk for more details about the Ijtema and to access the interactive academic syllabus. Please reach out to your local/Regional Qaid Sahib if you have any questions or email [email protected].
Follow us on Twitter (@UKMuslimYouth) and Instagram (AMYA.UK) for the latest information and content.
Hundreds of Khuddam Gather for Local Ijtema’at Across the UK
Today, on 29th January, fifteen Local Ijtema’at were held across the United Kingdom. This was the first time in almost two years that Khuddam were able to get together for an Ijtema and compete in academic and sports competitions at a local level.
The fifteen Qiadats that had their local Ijtema’at were Baitul Futuh South, Tooting Broadway, Purley, Stockport, Leamington Spa, Burton Upon Trent, Watford, Wandsworth, Guilford, Bradford South East, Mitcham Park, Peckham, Swansea, Surbiton, and Malden Manor.
The Ijtema’at followed a similar programme:
- They started with an opening session in the morning
- They then held academic competitions consisting of Tilawat, Hadith, Adhan, Speech, etc.
- Followed by Namaz Zuhr and Asr
- Sports competitions including a sprint race, football, and cricket
- Closing session around 3pm where most Qiadats were joined by Sadr Sahib Majlis Khuddamul Ahmadiyya UK via Teams and Khuddam were able to ask Sadr Sahib some questions
- The Khuddam were served food
The feedback from all the Khuddam was positive, all were happy to be meeting their fellow Khuddam brothers once again after such a long time. Below we share some of the feedback we have received from the Qaideen about how the Khuddam found their local Ijtema:
Tayyab Ahmad, Local Qaid Watford: “Due to COVID the numbers were lower than usual but that did not stop our Ijtema from being a success. The Khuddam enjoyed each other’s company and there is a strong feeling of being part of something that is bigger than all of us — overall everyone enjoyed participating in the sports and academic competitions.”
Fadlullah Afolabi, Local Qaid Peckham: “Alhamdulillah the Ijtema was successful, we managed to do football which always gets Khuddam together. Khuddam understood the theme for the year and Sadr Sahib’s address was very useful to everyone.”
Ammar Ahmad, Regional Qaid Darul Aman, speaking in relation to the Stockport Ijtema said “This is the first local Itema in over two years. One Khadim who unfortunately had to miss out still stood around outside for a bit, dismayed. He said he wishes he could be part of the gathering. We had our regional Murabbi Sahib do a Talqeen-e-Amal which was very beneficial to Khuddam, but it was the gathering of Khuddam— learning together, doing sports together, and doing prayers together which everyone loved.”
At 3pm, the majority of the local Ijtema’at tuned into a live session with Sadr Sahib UK which he chaired from the Guildford Ijtema. Sadr Sahib delivered a talk that was listened to by all Khuddam present both physically and virtually as part of the closing sessions, due to all Ijtema’at having a hybrid set-up. At the end of the talk, Sadr Sahib opened up the floor for questions. These, along with the answers, are presented below.
Question: Why are congregational prayers more rewarding that individual prayers?
Answer: “In Islam there is more reward engaging in acts of virtue and goodness collectively. The reason for this is that through congregational efforts everyone influences each other and naturally the good in society is absorbed. Therefore, Islam has prescribed congregational prayers for all men and emphasised that it is obligatory upon men to pray at a Mosque. When we convene in gatherings such as today’s Ijtema’at and offer our prayers together, it has a different spiritual effect as compared to praying at home.”
Question: To what extent do we compromise shaking hands with the opposite gender?
Answer: “In reality you do not need to compromise on this. You should explain that these are your values and your religious beliefs and that they should be respected in the same way that you respect the values of others in society. We should remember that Allah the Almighty has a way of making mankind accept His commands—with the pandemic everyone has been forced to cover-up which is a type of Purdah [Islamic veil], before women in the West would not cover their faces but now at the very least they have to cover their faces in line with government guidelines. Furthermore, most people today prefer not shaking hands and prefer just saying greetings to each other from a distance because of COVID. Therefore, there is nothing wrong if you explain that you are not shaking hands because of your values. You should be polite, but be courageous about it.”
Question: These days the Jama’at is going through some difficulty, how can we show Huzooraba that we are loyal and how can we help him?
Answer: “Allah the Almighty has said when someone says he or she believes it is not the end of their difficulty. Rather, Allah the Almighty will test that belief in various ways. This is also the case with the community of believers. It is through such trials that Allah the Almighty determines who is a loyal devotee and whose faith is empty. Therefore, our responsibility is to act upon the instructions of Hazrat Khalifatul-Masih Vaba and to ensure that we remain attached to the Jama’at. In the future our progeny will either thank Allah that their forefathers remained attached to Khilafat if we now remain devoted, or they will curse those who left the Jama’at.”
View Khuddam Pledge as a Personal Challenge: Hazrat Khalifatul-Masih V
Extracts from the speech of Hazrat Khalifatul-Masih V from the concluding session of MKA UK National Ijtema 2021
Majlis Khuddamul Ahmadiyya UK was incredibly privileged to have Hazrat Khalifatul-Masih Vaba, address Khuddam at the concluding session of the National Ijtema—marking two years since Huzoor’s previous address at a Khuddam National Ijtema.
The address ranged from explaining the true purpose of organising Ijtemas, stating the responsibilities of Khuddam and their value to the Jama’at, as well as giving a challenge to Khuddam to strive for academic excellence in their respective fields.
Below we present extracts from the address.
From the outset, Huzooraba stated that despite the natural inclination to socialise after two difficult years spent socially distanced and isolated, “It is very important to recognise that the primary objective of the Ijtema is not merely for the Khuddam and Atfal to gather together and enjoy each other’s company. Rather, the true and overriding objective of the Ijtema is the spiritual, moral and religious development of the participants.”
Further explaining this, Huzoor said “The Ijtema provides a place for you to take a step away from the material world, and focus your time and energy on absorbing and experiencing those speeches, competitions, and activities that will increase your piety and standards of righteousness.”
“These Ijtemas are held to ensure that every single Ahmadi, both male and female, and regardless of their age, ethnicity, or social background, understand that they are each of great value and importance to the Jama’at.”
Huzooraba then spoke of the restrictions on Atfal, where only Atfal aged 12 – 15 years were allowed to attend the Ijtema. Huzooraba said “I hope in the future the need for such restrictions will be removed. But it was important for those aged 12 to 15 to attend, as this is a crucial age in terms of one’s religious and moral development. Having attended the various events, and programmes held specially to cater for their needs, I hope the Atfal will now appreciate their true worth and value in the eyes of the Jama’at.”
Huzooraba then stated “Indeed, all Khuddam and Atfal should recognise that they are of great value, and that each Ahmadi is a precious member of the Jama’at of the Promised Messiah (peace be upon him).”
Talking about the importance of the youth, Huzooraba said “It is a fundamental truth that the children and youth of each nation have a great role to play in the progress and well-being of their community.”
To elaborate, Huzooraba quoted the second Khalifah—Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmood Ahmadra—to explain the purpose of the Ansar, Lajna and Khuddam auxiliary organisations. Huzooraba said “If there is any weakness, laziness, or deficiency amongst the central Jama’at administration, or within a particular auxiliary body, the other bodies are there to bridge the gap and to take up the mantle, to ensure that the highest spiritual objectives of our community are fulfilled, and that the community of the Promised Messiah (peace be upon him) continues to march forward.”
“So, every member of the Jama’at, irrespective of whether they are an officer bearer or the members, should always reflect upon the fact that they have a personal responsibility to the mission of the Promised Messiahas”.
Addressing Khuddam, Huzooraba went on to say that “If the members of Khuddam display the highest morals, give priority to their faith, maximise their religious and secular knowledge—and above all, are those who act upon the commandments of the Holy Quran, the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and are fully obedient to the Khalifah of the time, then the rate of progress of your Jama’at will increase manifold.”
Huzooraba then explored the importance of the responsibilities of the older Khuddam, particularly focussing on the influence they have on the younger generations. “Do not think that your behaviour or conduct is something that does not impact others. Rather, the next generation is looking directly towards you. And so do not let them down. Always remember, that if you do not pay close attention to discharging your duties to Allah the Almighty, and to one another, and do not seek to elevate your religious, spiritual, and intellectual standards, then you will not only be harming yourself, but also those who follow in your footsteps. You will be setting a harmful example for the next generation. And so, if they go astray, you will be held responsible”.
Summarising the importance of this point, Huzoor said “Just as the sun rises without fail each morning, our each and every day should give rise to glad tidings of the spiritual progress and advancement of the members of the Jama’at.”
Referring to the banner and official slogan of Majlis Khuddamul Ahmadiyya ‘A nation cannot be reformed without the reformation of its youth’, Huzoor said “View these words as a personal challenge to live up to […] you must strive to attain the highest moral and spiritual standards and to be a true asset for your nation and community. Otherwise, just to repeat these words without any action is utterly meaningless.”
Then addressing the younger members of the audience, Huzooraba reminded them of the example of early Islam, where “Very young men, aged 18, or 19 not only took part in the major battles of that time, but were given the rank of commanders. They acted with outstanding courage and manifested the highest levels of faith. So do not underestimate your abilities or think that you can focus upon your faith and religion at a later time in your life. Rather, even as teenagers and young adults, you should understand your value and importance.”
Offering practical examples for spiritual progression, Huzooraba said “You must be regular in offering the five daily prayers and do not speedily offer them without your attention. Rather, your prayers should be offered carefully with proper concentration, and with the true love of Allah embedded within your heart. Use that time of prayer to build your relationship with Allah. And do not just pray for yourself or your family, but also pray for your faith, for the Jama’at, and nation. Additionally, all Khuddam and Atfal should do Tilawat daily, even if it is just a few Rukus. You should try to understand the meaning of the Quran so that you can learn the best morals and know what Allah desires from you.”
Most importantly, Huzooraba singled out the quality of being truthful. “As you leave this Ijtema today, you should do so with the firm and sincere intention to always speak the truth, and to act with honesty at all times, and under all circumstances […] all Khuddam should understand that speaking the truth and acting with integrity is the means of gaining the nearness of Allah, whilst falsehood is equivalent to shirk — that is associating partner with God.”
“Those who purposely lie or deceive are no different to the idol worshipers who make falsehood their god, and who think that they will benefit from lying whilst fearing they will suffer if they adhere to the truth.”
Continuing on the qualities Khuddam should inculcate, Huzooraba said “Another very important quality and virtue that you should all develop is to become compassionate, loving, and considerate of others. Seek to establish the ties of mutual love, brotherhood and harmony. For a nation or community to be strong, it requires people to be united and to care for one another, and to share in each other’s joys and sorrows.”
Lastly, Huzoor addressed those Khuddam who are students or in higher education. “All students, whatever their age or level, should work diligently and seek to achieve the best possible results. And as you progress to adulthood, you should strive to reach the apex of your chosen profession.” Referring to the observation in the Jama’at that generally, girls are excelling more than boys in education, Huzoor said “I lay down the challenge to the members of Majlis Khuddamul Ahmadiyya to strive to redress this imbalance, and to endeavour to achieve the very best results in your academic career.”
Stating that it was God’s promise to the Promised Messiah (peace be upon him) that members of his community will excel in gaining knowledge and understanding, Huzoor encouraged Khuddam to strive to be one of those who manifest this promise.
Beloved Huzoor concluded his address with the prayer that “May Allah the Almighty grant all of you the humility to truly comprehend your immense responsibilities and to fulfil your obligations as members of Khuddamul Ahmadiyya. May you fulfil the rights to Allah the Almighty, and to His creation, and be those who illuminate the name of our Jama’at in the world, and play a distinguished role fulfilling the mission of the Promised Messiah (peace be upon him). It is my sincere and ardent prayer that you are successful in this. May Allah the Almighty continue to bless Majlis Khuddamul Ahmadiyya in all respects. Ameen.”
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